Padlocks click on Citybunker


Citybunker has become the latest venue to close its doors during the downturn.

Baliffs marched into the Cannon Workshops bar and padlocked the doors after operator Kar Ventures defaulted on rent payments.

It is the second time in less than a year that the watering hole has run into financial trouble.

Landlord British Waterways confirmed that it would be now be seeking a new tenant for Citybunker's unit.

A spokesman said: "It's going to be available to rent fairly soon. The tenant that was there before defaulted on payments and therefore forfeited its rental agreement."

Citybunker hoped to attract the golf-mad Wharf crowd with an experience that combined cocktails with big-screen golf tuition, live sports, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii areas and a weekly poker academy.

But Canary Wharf (Golf) Ltd was handed over to the administrators in early April last year after struggling to attract footfall to its location to the west of West India Quay.

Founder Richard Redmond - who also runs the Pokerbunker academy and the adjoining Canary Wharf Sports Exchange betting centre - set up Kar Ventures to buy back and re-launch the bar.

But he sold his interest in December, and administrators were nominated to wind up Kar Ventures on December 30.

Richard plans to focus more on his life outside the Wharf, but is aiming to keep his Pokerbunker business running online, and possibly at another non-virtual home.

He said: "I'm taking the poker to another venue as soon as I find one. I've got various options in the City but I don't mind coming up to E14 a couple of times a week. If and when I find a venue I'll throw my weight behind it.

"People are terrified of leaving their desks these days, and some are scared to go back to them. But there's a vibrant online community for Pokerbunker and we're doing very well.

"I'd been involved in Citybunker since the beginning. It was a nice business to be involved in and everybody there got what it was about."

PGA golfing pro Pete Fuller passed on his skills to punters using the bar's high-tech video coaching system. But he said he was now "looking at his options out of the area".

He said: "The golf tuition was always steady. But it's not going ahead any further.

"You'd think it would be an amazing draw for people in Canary Wharf, but everyone's cutting back on everything."

The dip in trade caused by the credit crunch has already caused West India Quay bar Beluga to go bust, while Quay neighbour Dion closed its Wharf outlet in October to focus on its City sites.


Rita said:

Dear Sirs,

My name is Rita, I am ex City Bunker employee.
Good article.
It will help me in Employment Tribunal this week againts Kar ventures. I am positive I have got a good case. Employment Tribunal accepted my claim long time ago. Kar ventures did not pay its employees moths salaries, holiday pay and No Notice of dismissal. No overtime pay, no weekends pay.
One day we just came to work and it was a yellow ribbon around it. I could not obtain P45, no payslips, therefore I could not move on and look for new jobs as no one told us what was going on. Thanks to these poeple about 20 employees with families to feed were just thrown at the street.
There were a lot of expensive parties fully booked up to April. Where did the money go?
But it is a big mistake to think that " little nobodies employees" would leave it like that. i am British and I know my rights in this country. No one kicks staff out with No notice and not even a chance to get my personal belongings back.

Joe said:

These guys did me for the best part of £2,000 in owed wages. They also shafted another mate of mine. I sent numerous letters, but, they were all laughed off. After the place shut down I gave up. The 'directors' (about 4 or 5 or them when I was working there) were basically a bunch of crooks in my opinion.

James Chance said:

Anyone thinking of doing business with Richard Redmond who used to own City Bunker & Kar Ventures, should think again. He will pick your pockets & hang you out to dry.